GEORGE: How a wine list should be constructed

I have long hoped for a place in Coppell to carry a great selection of wines by the glass and a reasonable price. Two years ago I wrote a series of posts deconstructing the wine lists of the 6 restaurants in the city (two of which are no longer in business).  Although each had a glass or two worth considering, the net of my research was that the wine lists in Coppell restaurants carried too many wines you can buy at the local grocery store and charged too much for what you were getting. This isn’t unique to this area (I see it at resaurants all over the country) and it is the complete opposite of the adventure and accessibility that great wine lists share.

The good news: thanks to GEORGE in Old Town this is about to change. The better news: they are going to launch their new wine program on Monday, October 30th at 4:30 p.m. And I am counting the minutes. The thought of being able to sit down at a couch or table with my computer or friends and enjoy a really good glass of wine in a relaxing and comfortable setting, without being pressured to turn the table or stuck in the hubbub of a bar, is positively appealing.

I spoke with Christian and Laura Hemberger, GEORGE owners, last week and was impressed by both their approach to putting together their wine program and the selections they have chosen to start out with. For so many restaurants, the primary goal of the wine program is to find low cost wines they think they can sell and then mark them up as much as they think customers will tolerate. Fortunately, GEORGE is taking a much different approach, following a philosophy of finding unique wines they believe will exceed the expectations of customers on quality and then pricing them in a consistent and reasonable manner.

“We want to have available at GEORGE wines that show geographic diversity, that challenge people to venture out of their everyday selections, and that you can’t find anywhere else in the area,” Hemberger noted in our conversation. The wines they have selected fully meet these requirements and are, in a word: thoughtful.

GEORGE will be starting with five wines, carefully selected to cover the divergent tastes of most customers while also pairing perfectly with new Charcuterie food offerings that were created specifically to go with the wine selections. The offerings start with a sparkling wine, served in the small 187 ml bottles, an Italian Ti Amo Prosecco that provides a refreshing crispness and just a touch of floral sweetness. For those who subscribe to the mantra “Rosé all Day,” there is a Pietradolce Dry Rosé from Sicily. The initial list will include two still white wines, a lighter and refreshing Chardonnay from Burgundy, France and an Oregon Pinot Gris from Bennet Lane made from the same grape as Pinot Grigio but made in a style that is richer and riper. The final wine is a red blend from Argentina that combines red fruit driven local Bonarda grapes (the same grape as a California Charbono) with the dark fruit and spice from Malbec along with Syrah to create an easy-to-drink and pleasing red wine.

After the initial launch, the plan according to Hemberger, is to add to the core list different additional bottles on a regular basis in order to keep the offerings fresh and continue to provide an element of adventure from their wine program.  For those who aren’t wine drinkers, GEORGE will also serve a collection of craft beers from local Peticolas Brewery and a hard cider.

The wines that GEORGE will have on day one are perfect for who they are and what they are trying to accomplish. Starting with clear vision of what they wanted their wine program to be and how it fit their brand and then mainting a customer-centric perspective through the proces is what made it work. I wish more restaurants would adopt the same approach.

One Comment Add yours

  1. How awesome. Now if only someone in Plano would embrace this idea!

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